Fallon shuts down Fernley for Homecoming win

Fallon receiver Ethan Tarner tries to break free from the Fernley defense in the first quarter of the Greenwave’s 36-15 win Friday.

Fallon receiver Ethan Tarner tries to break free from the Fernley defense in the first quarter of the Greenwave’s 36-15 win Friday.
Photo by Thomas Ranson.

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Fernley marched down the field in a 12-play, eight-minute drive to open Friday’s Homecoming game, resulting in a field goal. The rest of the game belonged to Fallon.

Despite the Vaqueros having the ball for 31 minutes, the Greenwave football team’s defense adjusted quickly after that first drive and the offense was fast and efficient as Fallon downed its cross-valley rival, 36-15, at the Edward Arciniega Athletic Complex.

Senior running back Roland Grondin turned in another 100-yard performance, gashing the Fernley line for 138 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns. Senior quarterback Bryce Adams didn’t need to throw much, completing 7-of-10 passes for 134 yards and one touchdown to senior Ethan Tarner after he threw three interceptions in the previous week’s loss at Truckee.

“We just talked about how to respond and the kids were really focused on the game plan,” Fallon coach Brooke Hill said. “There’s Homecoming and I want them to enjoy all of that stuff but when it’s practice time, it’s go time. This is an older team and we have a lot of seniors who were not happy with last week. They came and showed up this week.”

Fallon improved to 3-1 in the Northern 3A with Spring Creek visiting Friday. The Spartans surprised the Greenwave last fall, ending their season as they advanced to the state semifinals. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.


The defense set the tone in Friday’s win over Fernley.

Fallon held Fernley’s rushing attack to 72 yards on 37 carries while quarterback Bryce Stephens completed 6-of-10 passes for 109 yards.

“It was just trusting each other because we all had our assignments against the triple option. Once we fixed a few holes, we shut them down,” Fallon senior linebacker Caden McKnight said. “We were focusing on bouncing back and overcoming the adversity from last week throughout practice and the football class we have in school. To come back and answer like we did was huge.”

Down 3-0 with four minutes left in the first quarter, Adams found Tarner on a quick screen at their 25-yard line, and Tarner sprinted down the sideline in front of the bench before being pushed out of bounds 5 yards from the end zone. Two plays later, Grondin ran into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown with 3:13 left in the quarter.

Hill said that while Fallon ran the ball well against Truckee, the difference in the Fernley game was eliminating mistakes and being more physical.

“We played clean and we played physical. When they took shots, we answered,” Hill added. “I felt like last week against Truckee, they punched us in the mouth and we didn’t respond. (Fernley) had a good drive to open the game but we stiffened up down on this end, kept them to a field goal, and the kids answered and took it down the field and scored. That’s what you’ve got to do. Good football teams will do that. I’m very proud of every kid and their effort.”

After both teams punted on their next drives, Fernley managed one first down before punting for the second-straight series.

Fallon lineman Garrett Payne said the defense closed the gaps in the middle to eliminate the rushing threat.

“Being right up there in the middle and getting that dive. That’s all we had to work on was just the dive with our interior linemen,” he said. “There were not a lot of adjustments to be made but we just kept on going at it.”

Grondin ran into trouble early in the series with three runs of no gains before he cut to his left on fourth-and-1 from Fernley’s 39 to extend Fallon’s drive. A 23-yard pass from Adams to Tarner put Fallon into the red zone before finding him again for a 13-yard touchdown with 2:51 left in the half. Brady Alves’ quarterback run on the two-point attempt gave Fallon a 14-3 lead.

100, AGAIN

Grondin said the line paved his path all night to another 100-plus-yard game on the ground.

“If our line wasn’t as good as they are or as dominant as they are, I wouldn't be able to do anything,” he said. “I wouldn’t be having any touchdowns or getting any yards, so really it’s all my line. I love those boys to death. They’re out there really fighting every down. They’re in the trenches. That’s their job. I just have to have faith in my reads.”

The scoring didn’t stop in the second half when Grondin ran 57 yards on back-to-back plays to open the series, setting up a 7-yard Tarner run up the middle to give Fallon a 20-3 lead after the two-point attempt failed.

Fernley managed a first down on the next series before being forced to punt. After a late hit extended Fernley’s drive, Stephens was sacked by Manuel Karaway on a third-and-5 from their own 27-yard line.

Four plays later, Grondin scored from 27 yards out and Alves’ two-point pass to Baylor Sandberg extended the lead to 28-3 with 4:35 left in the third quarter.

Fernley scored a touchdown early in the fourth quarter but Grondin found the end zone again with a 12-yard run with 6:18 left in the game. Fernley added another late score with 45 seconds left before Fallon ran out the clock.


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